Our neighbor, Lynne, has decided to move and we are not pleased about this. We've developed a co-dependent relationship with Lynne over the years and it's probably very unhealthy but it means we have a key to her house, which we raid whenever we need something we don't have.
I met Lynne in 2016 while I was on a Facetime call with Skylar. I had just started dating Skylar long-distance a few months before. I went on a rant on this particular call because I had now lived in my new home for eight or so months and I had only met like one neighbor.
"This is outrageous. I'm the kind of person who is friends with his neighbors," I yelled into the phone as Skylar nodded and continued to not tell me that he plays Dungeons and Dragons.
Then I saw out my window Lynne, two houses down from mine, out in her yard watering some flowers so I told Skylar I was going to march right on down there and introduce myself.
Skylar texted me 45 minutes later to ask why I hadn't called him back yet to let him know how it went. I texted him back a selfie from Lynne's kitchen and told him she was rummaging through a drawer to give me a spare key to her house.
Skylar texted back, "of course she is."
Lynne and I have joked about that day in the years since. She and I are on completely opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to politics and most of our views. But we immediately trusted one another for some unknown reason. In the years to come we've each treated one another's homes like our own personal closet.
Lynne is out of town at least 50% of the time for work and so Sky and I will go water her plants and bring in her mail and borrow her dishware and wine at will. Lynne will give us advice on our yard, which we gladly accept as she has curated the most beautiful backyard in our neighborhood (see above photo).
And so, when she told me she was moving to another state my first response was "well did you even think of us when you made this selfish decision?!"
"Lynne is moving! Now whose stuff are we going to steal?!" I yelled to Skylar when he came home from the hospital or affairs or body piercings later that day.
Skylar let out a sad and shocked high-pitched "noooooo!" and then said, through strained speech, "I'm really going to miss her."
The next day I watched him hug her and cry on the sidewalk because apparently he's a much better person than me.
On Saturday Lynne told me Skylar asked her if he could have a broken pot in her backyard. "I just need something that will help me think of you," he explained to her. Lynne had tears in her eyes when she told me this. "It was one of the nicest things anyone has said to me in a long time."
"If you're just giving stuff away," I interjected, "we'll take your wine rack."
I'm sure it will hit me as soon as she's gone. I'll take Duncan for a walk and implicitly turn to peek through her windows to see if she's watching Fox News so I can go pound on her door and yell "that's rotting your brain, lady!"
Or I'll be sitting in my backyard with the bistro lights on, waiting for her to show up with a bottle of wine she just brought back from Paris. "I can tell you're working," she usually says, "but I don't care. I have stories for you."
Or maybe it will sink in the next time I have a run-in with the nosey lady at the end of the street who just spent 10 minutes downloading all of the latest neighborhood gossip at me and I'll reach for my phone to text Lynne a summary.
But her TV won't be on, the gate to my backyard will never creak open, and she'll be thousands of miles away from the gossip.
I'll sigh a little, shake my head, and then go take a look at the cracked pot on our patio that reminds me of her.
~It Just Gets Stranger